Breaking a broody hen : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

My cochin pullet has been sitting for about 5 weeks. We remove the eggs out from under her every day (the other hens climb in the nest with her to lay their eggs, even though we have 8 nest boxes!). Every day when I take the eggs out, I toss her outside, but she comes running back in, yelling at me. She's lost a lot of weight, so I don't think it would be safe to try the "confine her without food and water" method of breaking up a broody hen. Would she stop if we just let her hatch some?

-- Elizabeth (, April 15, 2001


I have a hen that has been sitting for six weeks(first batch of eggs was bad, and I gave her new ones.) But I would be very hesitant to start her on new eggs after five weeks. They do get pretty pathetic looking by the time they have been on a nest for six or seven weeks. I would think, surely, she would give up soon on her own, but if you want to make her happy, you might consider buying a few day old chicks and putting them under her at night.

-- mary, texas (, April 15, 2001.

Cochins are hard to get to stop setting. I would put them in a hanging cage which was ventilated all around and bottom just wire to "cool off" her belly and get the feathers growing again. Don't give her any nest material or her belly will just stay hot. I gave them food scraps and water and they gained weight again. Another thing you can try is dunking her in a bucket of cold water! Not her head of course, just to cool the skin under there off. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.

-- Cindy in Ky (, April 15, 2001.

I haven't tried this but if she is very persistent to set I've heard it suggested to give her some ice cubes to set on. This will cool her down and break her broodiness. If you do try it let me know how it works. Thanks.

-- Trisha-MN (, April 15, 2001.

I don't know if you've tried it or not but have you moved her and a couple eggs to another box? Do the other hens follow her everywhere or are they wanting that one specific box also? Or could you get a couple eggs from a close farm friend whose eggs are close to hatching out and put them under her? She needs to have her way with motherhood or she's gonna just continue this cycle. Let us know how it turns out.

-- Pat (, April 15, 2001.

Yep, the other chickens actually follow her if she gets put in another nest. I guess they think that must be a safe place to lay!

-- Elizabeth (, April 16, 2001.

One thing that's always suggested to break a broody hen is to cage her with just food/water for one week-10 days. I have found that it doesn't matter what you try, or if you do nothing, it takes the same amount of time! -G- And chances are very good that she'll do it again. I leave them alone.

Reminds me of what the doc once said: if you take something for a cold, it'll be gone in a week. If you take nothing, it'll be gone in 7 days! -LOL-

-- ~Rogo (, April 16, 2001.

I would second the notion of putting her in a cage WITH food and water for a couple of days. I do not know how long it would take to break the habbit, but if you change her environment, she may get the idea. This worked on one of mine. Even if it is as simple as she cannot get to the nests. I would definately give her food. I even take bread crumbs to my broody chickens when I want them to hatch out babies, because I feel so bad that they are losing weight for their babies. Also, keep in mind if you cage her, there will be no eggs for her to sit on, since she is not laying when brooding. Maybe that would help her get the idea. Right now, maybe she is thinking the new batch of eggs every day must be hers. Good Luck! ~Brenda~

-- Brenda (, April 16, 2001.

I tried Mary's idea of putting a couple day-old chicks in with the hen I have that is broody, and viola! it worked. She is back to being lively, taking care of the chicks, etc. Have to remember that if she does it again and I don't have a rooster. Jan

-- Jan in CO (, April 18, 2001.

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